Saturday night we went to bed, completely unsuspecting of what lay ahead. There was nothing, no hint of the strange night that I was about to experience. We went to bed at a normal hour, probably between 10 and 11 pm. After my usual tossing and turning, which gets more difficult every week by the way, trying to get comfortable and trying to get cool, I finally fell asleep. This was rudely interrupted about 1:00 am when I heard Elisabeth crying. I didn’t get up at first because sometimes she just cries in her sleep and then quiets herself down. But she escalated, so I went in there to do what I usually do, which is feel around in the dark in her crib to find her blankie and her pup-pup, pick her up, snuggle her for a minute, and lay her back down. This time, however, that did not have the greatest results. My hand felt much more than just covers and pup-pup. She had been sick. Like, all over the entire crib sick. My nose finally engaged and told my hand what was going on. By this time I’m holding her and realizing that it’s all over her, too–hair, face, eyes, clothes–, and consequently all over me. Lights come on, self-preaching begins: “Monica, you can do this. Do not throw up. Do not drop this yucky baby. It’s not her fault. Clean it up. You must touch her. You must reach your hands back into that crib.” Somehow, I manage to clean her up, change her clothes and diaper, pull all bedding, including mattress pad and bumper pad out of the crib, pulling crib out from the wall to get bumper pad untied all the way around, get nasty blankie and pup-pup away from her (I think that was the most tragic moment of all–she wailed when I took them away), go into my room to find alternate bedding for her, make her crib back up, find a pillowcase to use as substitute blankie, calm down baby and lay her back down–all without putting her down and all without waking anyone else in the house. Now I go back to bed, and you may think the story is over. Oh, no, no, no. We’re not finished yet. I lay down just in time to hear a rumble of thunder. Right on cue, the dog springs up at my feet in the bed and is instantly trembling. I mean trembling hard enough that the bed is shaking. He worms his way up farther in the bed, and lays down along the length of my legs, pressing his body as close to me as he can, instantly upping my body temperature to about 179 degrees. He is supposed to be Clay’s dog, so why does he derive all of his thunderstorm comfort from me? I lay there, alternating between scooting away from him and pushing him back down to my feet, for about 45 minutes until the storm passes over. I get up, get some water, and lay back down, again waking up no one else. Is the night over yet? Oh, I only wish I could say yes. As he has calmed back down and the bed is no longer shaking and I’m almost about to drift off to sleep, I hear a strange noise coming from outside. Now, you might try to convince me that there is no way that anyone would be hammering outside at 2:00 in the morning. If you did, I would say, “You don’t know my neighbors.” These are the neighbors that one night pulled their car in and out of the driveway for an hour and a half, never going anywhere. These are the neighbors that put a Merry Christmas sign in their yard in March. These are the neighbors that have been known to mow their yard at 11:00 pm. These are the neighbors that have parties in their garage complete with extremely loud Latino music until the wee hours of morning. So, then, these are the neighbors that definitely were hammering at 2:00 am Sunday morning. I started to just lay there and try to ignore it, but the longer it went on, the more I realized how much it would add to my story if I were to get up and verify my suspicions. So up I go yet again. I find my glasses and tiptoe to the window. Yes, their porch light is on, he is squatting down in front of the front door and she is standing over him supervising. They are doing something that involves hammering on their front door. Something that apparently must be done right that instant and takes close to an hour. Am I surprised at this? After the description of these neighbors that I just shared with you? After all that had already happened on this night? No, I’m not surprised. I’m too weary to be surprised. I get back into bed, again without waking anyone else, and finally fall asleep. When morning comes, I must confess that I was not very disappointed when Clay and I decided that Elisabeth did not need to be around other babies. He said, “I don’t mind to stay home with her if you want to go.” I just looked at him with my bleary, sleep-deprived eyes, and said, “No, it’s okay. You go.” Elisabeth and I both slept for almost three hours while they were gone. Oh, what a night. This is the beautiful ordinary life I lead.